Class of '59
September 1998

40th Anniversary Class ยท Gustavus Class of 1959

May 28 & 29, 1999


Forty years ago we began the "home stretch" . . . our final journey among the safe surroundings of Gustavus Adolphus College . . . our last year of ‘book learnin’ in preparation for going out to face the world.

The memories of the fall of 1958 and the months to follow are numerous - it was to be a banner year. 1120 students on campus . . . freshman initiation and sorority rush . . . an undefeated football season - MIAC Champs and a trip to the Holiday Bowl playoff game . . . fundraising for the new college chapel and announcement of plans to construct the Nobel Hall of Science.

Members of the Class of ’59 will have an opportunity to relive those memories and more as we look forward to our 40-year Reunion which will be held on May 28-29, 1999.

Reunion info . . .

Friday night, May 28, 1999 - - - Dinner and program at Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington!! We are in the process of forming a Reunion Committee (any volunteers??) who will help plan out events for that evening (day?). Please forward your ideas and suggestions to John Bold or me so we can make that a special event. Mark the date on your calendar and begin making plans to attend!!

Saturday, May 29, 1999 - - - Noon luncheon on campus - - - other events planned for that day include seminars, concerts, Alumni Banquet and a Vesper service - - - a chance to visit the campus and see progress on "Rebuilding a Greater Gustavus"

More information will be included in future "letters" during the coming months, including a class directory scheduled to come your way in January!!

Gustie News . . .

Last spring was definitely a downer in Gustavus history. As you well know by now, the tornado that swept through southern Minnesota on March 29 raised havoc with every building on campus and downed or stripped just about every tree in sight. However the College has rebounded in true Gustie fashion and the campus was ready for the opening of school this fall. A record enrollment of 2450 students was expected when classes got underway in September, including a record 700+ incoming students. The retention rate of full-time students stands at about 94%.

"Rebuilding a Greater Gustavus" notes - - - One of the casualties resulting from the storm was Johnson Hall which had to be torn down due to structural damage. No decision has been made as yet as to a replacement on that site. New student housing has been added so as to be able to house more students on campus. As a result of the storm, construction of the new Campus Center began this summer rather than wait until next year as planned - the official cornerstone laying is slated for October 19. Replacement of the spire on Christ Chapel is scheduled for October 18, a literal and figurative representation of the "Rebuilding" effort.

Since many of the pianos in the music department were damaged beyond repair due to the water, Gustavus is now an "all Steinway" campus with the acquisition of 28 new Steinway pianos - - - not many colleges in the country belong to this elite group. New equipment also can be found in the language lab and the multitude of computer sites found throughout campus.

What the news magazines are saying . . . US News and World Report has ranked Gustavus in the second quartile of quality schools, along with Macaletser, St. Olaf, and Carleton, placing it among the top three for "most efficient" - "quality education at a reasonable price." Newsweek identifies Gustavus as a "buried treasure" among schools such as Davidson College, Grinnell, Pomona, Trinity College and the College of William and Mary - - - citing "personal attention rules - can’t slide by here." The academic status of Gustavus remains very high - recognized nationally.

At the Class Agent meeting on September 12, we heard college updates from Dennis Johnson ’60, Vice President for College Relations, and Rick Torgerson, Vice President for Development (replacing Bob Peterson who retired last winter). The focus for development during the next 18 months will include:

* construction of the new Campus Center - to include the Evelyn Young Dining Room

* construction and remodeling of residence halls

* general campus beautification

* consolidation of the various fund-raising initiatives (Alumni Fund, Parents Fund, G1000, Annual Fund, etc.) into the Gustavus Fund

Phonorama . . .

The Gustavus Fund is the primary means of providing financial support to the college and its many programs. Last year the Gustavus Fund received contributions from 135 members of the Class of 59 which represents 59.2% of our class total - - - our goal was 60%. Total contributions to the Gustavus Fund from the ’59ers amounted to $33,759 which ranks us seventh in the decade of classes from 1950-1959. With this being our anniversary year, we are making a concerted effort to contact all class members and hoping to improve significantly on both of those figures. The first opportunity will be during Phonorama scheduled for October 19-22, 24 & 26-29. Phonorama calling sites are Deli Express in Eden Prairie during the first week and Alliant Foodservice in Eagan for nights during the second week, from 6:30 - 10:00 p.m. each night.

We need your help! We need callers! Our goal for the coming year is 65% participation and contributions of $40,000. We are targeting the evenings of October 20, 22, 26 and 28 as priority nights for the Class of ’59. During those nights we hope to make the majority of the calls - - and therefore need strong representation at the phone banks. If you are available to join us and call on any of those nights (or any other night during Phonorama), call John Erickson at 935-2442 or John Bold at 929-1400 for more information!

News of Gusties . . .

Following the class letter of last spring, I received a phone call from Marion Johnson Sansted who related how they had received storm news and updates huddled over a computer while on a trip in Slovakia . . . they probably had more current news than many of us in Minnesota.

Also received a letter from Jeanette Westberg Johnston, reporting in from Waukesha, WI. She continues to substitute teach (". . the best job in the world . . . where else can you work when you feel like it and still keep a job"). Scooter (’60) is still the Director of Family Services of Waukesha County with four offices to oversee! They are grandparents but have to travel to Idaho and Oregon to be able to babysit.

Thanks for the personal contact, both of you . . . in other news . . .

Jerry Hoffman writes from St. Anthony where he continues as Senior Pastor of Nativity Lutheran Church in the Minneapolis suburb. Wife Joan (x61) teaches second grade in the Moundsview School District; daughter Karin is married with two sons and has her own consulting business in New Brighton; daughter JoAnne, also married and with 2 children, is a pediatrician with South Lake Pediatric Group in Minneapolis.

Susan Hansen is moving back to her home on Lake Huron in Cheboygan, Michigan - - will continue as a Medical Transcriptionist working out of her home via internet with a company in Detroit. Other than work, she is enjoying five (soon to be six) grandchildren, all in Detroit. She will still see them often and plans to make "grandma’s" home on the lake an enjoyable place for them to visit.

Received a very short note from Joyce Ford Anderson responding to the call to donate toward the Class of ’59 Tree Fund. Have you responded?? Still time to do it!!

For you Minnesota Public Radio listeners - - did you see the February, 1998, issue of Minnesota Monthly and their section on "Exploring Minnesota’s Private Colleges" ? They had a nice article featuring Paul Magnuson reminiscing about his years at Gustavus and the value of those experiences in preparing him for his position as Chief Judge of the Federal District Court in Minnesota. Congratulations, Paul!

Elizabeth Johnson Dahl and husband John (’58) have sold their home in Findlay, Ohio (after 27 years there) and are now living in a condo in Port Clinton, Ohio, while searching for a new location.

David Matson is completing his 31st year as an electronics instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College - his wife says it’s his last.

Roy Harley is recently retired from his job with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota - wife Karol still works for the Red Wing Public Schools.

Robert and Leona Isenberg report that they are enjoying their retirement - living in St. Peter and being close to Gustavus and all it has to offer.

Leonard and Phyllis Brown are still in Grand Rapids, MN - - Lenny has retired from teaching but stays active as chairman of the school district credit union.

Sheila and Ray (’60) Olson write from Shoreview - they have a new grandson named August (Gus) Lindberg - how’s that for a true Swede! Ray is retired from teaching but substitutes frequently so he can enjoy the fun parts of teaching. Sheila is still working but will probably join the ranks of the retired in a year.

Pat McLane Olson and husband Richard (x58) of Minneapolis are enjoying the retirement years by doing a bit of travelling (Hawaii for three weeks last March, Alaska cruise in August and Washington, D.C. in October). Also finding time to attend their grandchildren’s school activities and sporting events.

Ron Hawkinson reports that he is still working - and will be for 3 more years. He is Social Service Supervisor at Chisago County Human Services. Ron spends his free time clogging with the Lake Country Cloggers of Center City. (Anybody happen to see them at the State Fair this year?)

Bob and Lorraine Koons had an enjoyable tour of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway a year ago - - including a memorable reunion with family members in Bergen, Norway.

Co-Class Agent John Bold sends his greetings . . . John and wife, Cherrie, are presently enjoying a lengthy vacation in Europe.

Final thoughts . . .

Many thanks to Carol Johnson Heyl for spearheading the drive to replace trees on campus. Carol took the lead in organizing a team to call and/or contact all of our classmates and encourage donations to the "Tree Fund." There was $9,017.50 collected from our class for that project!

Thanks to all of you who sent on "news notes" and updates! Your class letter can become a great vehicle for passing on this information, but ONLY IF we hear from you!

Become active! Look for events involving Gustavus groups coming to your area . . . alumni gatherings, concerts, sporting events, etc. . . . and try to attend as a means of supporting your college.

Dates of note . . .

  • September 25-26 - Homecoming
  • October 3 - G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors)
  • October 6-7 - Nobel Conference XXXIV, Virus: The Human Connection
  • October 19-22, 24 & 26-29 - Phonorama
  • October 24 - Hall of Fame Banquet
  • December 4, 5, 6 - Christmas in Christ Chapel

For you alums throughout the country, please note the dates of your local Chapter meetings.

From the Erickson household, all’s well. With our three kids and four grandchildren all in the Twin Cities area, we are very fortunate to be able to maintain regular contact and follow their progress. Linda’s retirement time is being filled with reading, walking and babysitting. My ‘transition’ to retirement results in keeping in touch with colleagues and professional activities on a part-time basis, but finding increasing time for hobbies and travel.

‘Till next time . . . Take care!

John Erickson

Co-Class Agent ’59

Telephone: (612) 935-2442; Fax: (612) 988-4020